Thursday, January 15, 2009

My New Year Resolutions

I mentioned in an earlier post that on my 20th birthday I made a long list of goals of things I wanted to accomplish before I was 30. Degrees to receive, places to travel to, languages to study, jobs I wanted to hold. My twenties were incredible. If I was going to describe that decade in one word it would be "full". Or quite possibly "Me". The 15 journals I filled while in my twenties read like a novel. Every week, every day I would learn something new, experience something different. I had total freedom to do the things that I dreamed about doing. If I wanted to spend an entire night listening to some random garage band play, I would do it. If I wanted to step out of my life for a few months and hide away and write nonsense in a little cowboy town I would. (And did, but that is a different story). I learned that a vegetarian lifestyle is not for me and that men who looked confused when I mentioned the desire to go to grad school would not be getting a second date.

Getting married wasn't a hard transition. Shane was and is my perfect compliment and if anything marriage just flamed the fire. We did so much together those years before children. Traveling and learning with him at my side just added to my enthusiasm for life and what it held for me and now him.

At 28 I had Lydia and my race through life didn't just slow, I was knocked completely off my feet. I had prepared myself for leaving my career. I had prepared for motherhood the best I knew how. But nothing could have prepared me, or Shane for that matter, for the reality of having (to quote a dear friend) the most difficult baby imaginable. I think of the first 18 months of her life as a dreary world of crying (hers and mine) exhaustion (hers, mine, and Shane's) and depression (mine for sure).

I was just breaking through these clouds of misery when I turned 30. Lydia had been sleeping through the night for a couple months straight and she would go several hours a day without screaming. I was just being able for the first time in 18 months to leave the house for more than 30 minutes at a time and I had made a few good friends. It was in this mind frame that I sat down to write my list of goals for my 30's.

I looked at the blank page in my journal for a long time. I was barely able to guarantee my teeth being brushed everyday. What grandiose plans could I write down that wouldn't be more than just fantasy?

I thought about my list for several weeks. I knew I would eventually move past this mere survival mode and there would have to be direction in my life. My "roaring twenties" were behind me and I knew my 30's weren't really mine. I would share them with the family I have made and the direction I took wasn't so much up to me anymore. There isn't anything wrong with that. In fact, is a beautiful and fulfilling step to be able to surrender so much of yourself to those you love. I realized that my 30's were not going to be a list of things I wanted to accomplish, but a constant balancing act of maintaining my individuality with the new role I was embarking on of wife and mother.

I changed the title of my list from "Goals" to "Success". I thought about the things in life that I wanted to maintain. The things that I knew would help me be happy. These would be the things I would need to strive for to be successful in my own life. I have the list framed on my desk and I review it often. They are in no particular order.

  • Healthy and delicious meals
  • Continuous learning
  • Comfortable with my body
  • Regular exercise
  • Romantic weekly dates
  • Family Home Evening
  • Clean home - not just tidy
  • Loving relationships with family members
  • Quality conversations with Shane often
  • "Ready for the day" most days
  • Quality relationships with other women
  • Food storage
  • Scripture study
  • Passionate sex life
  • Well maintained style
  • Creative outlets
  • Family/Personal History
  • Magnify church callings
  • Organized home
  • Comfortable home
  • Temple attendance
  • Sincere prayers
  • Ample personal time
  • Well maintained yard
  • Clean car
  • Quality time with Lydia throughout each day
  • 8 hours of sleep nightly
  • Thoughtful gifts for loved ones
  • Meaningful holidays/traditions

Many of the things on this list seem small and inconsequential. Many of them are things I have a hard time achieving on a regular basis. (Like the sleep. And the clean car) I have found for me that in this new life I am living, the grand things just cannot be accomplished without the small things being attended to. I do have goals for my 30's. I have recorded a small list of grand plans in my private journal. They are more recent additions to my life's plan. Lydia is just about to turn 3 and has become the most lovely little girl. I almost forget sometimes that she was ever so hard. I have a new baby on the way, who I pray will be easier. My twenties were like a dance in my life. Spinning wildly or gracefully romantic, in one way or another, I was always moving. I see my 30's as more of a hike with difficult terrain, lots of rest breaks, but magnificent scenery along the way. I just don't seem to know what lies around the bend.

My goal for 2009 is to continue working towards this personal definition of success. I have little side goals that coincide with my list like, "reading to Lydia more throughout the day and limiting her TV to one hour". "Visit the gym at least 3 times a week to keep pregnancy weight gain under 25 pounds"...that kind of thing. In all, I just want to be happy and to make the people around me happy. I think that my little list helps me towards that goal.

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